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Jewish Royalty

by Mrs. R. Goldzweig


Library » History » Kings | Subscribe | What is RSS?


The Midrash states, "G-d had three 'finds' of them was David, as it says,1 'I found David, my servant.'"2  - "[And] where did I find him? In Sodom!"3

Jewish Royalty

Malchut, literally "royalty", is the seventh sefirah, the culmination and distillation of the previous six sefirot. It is the female principle, the archetypal recipient sefirah, and the Zohar describes it as "having nothing of her own".

A Jewish king is the embodiment of the sefirah of malchut and therefore very different than the autocratic king of the nations of the world. In contrast to King Ahasuerus, for example (or Saddam Hussein, in our day and age), whose authority was not subject to any guidelines or legal standards, a Jewish king serves as a living example to the nation (and thus, to the world) of total commitment to the service of G-d, with total subservience and self-nullification to G-d's will.

Jewish royalty must have moral courage and strength and nobility of character. He must have the ability both to be judgmental as well as compassionate. King David, the father of the Jewish house of royalty, when engrossed in the study of Torah was described by the Sages as: "adino haetzni" - "delicate as a worm" ["adin" is Hebrew for delicate]. When he fought in battle, he was "tough as wood" ["etz" is Hebrew for wood]. The same David who was a psalmist also declared, "I will pursue my foes and not return until they are totally vanquished."4

The same David who was a psalmist also declared, "I will pursue my foes and not return until they are totally vanquished
David's Lineage

King David himself lived a life full of trials and tribulations literally from birth. He was shunned by his father as a bastard (see below), scorned and pursued by King Saul, and weathered his son Absalom's rebellion while King of Israel. Yet he never flinched or complained, instead writing 150 songs of praise to the Almighty (the Book of Psalms) and meriting the crown of royalty for all generations through the time of the Future Redemption.

Indeed, David lived almost his entire life on borrowed time, as the Midrash explains that Adam was originally destined to live for 1000 years, as decreed: "today you will die".5 When Adam saw all the souls that were destined to come down to the world, he saw that King David was destined to live for only 7 hours - so he gave him 70 years of his own; thus Adam lived therefore for 930 years, and King David lived for 70.

His lineage is shadowed and shameful: his father descended from Moab, a product of incest between Lot and his daughter after Sodom's destruction,6 down through Ruth, a Moabite convert.

Jacob's grandson Er (Judah's eldest son) died childless. After his brothers failed to father a namesake with Tamar (his widow),7 she resorted to consorting with Judah while in disguise. Upon being sentenced to death for her apparent lack of fidelity, she left her fate, as well as her unborn child's, completely in Judah's hands rather than shame him in public. Judah then publicly accepted responsibility for her pregnancy, saving her life as well as her unborn children (she was carrying twins). He merited Israel's house of royalty for all generations through this noble act, as David is descended from Peretz, one of the products of that union.

Years later, when the Jewish nation traversed the wilderness on the way to the Land of Israel, the Moabite nation refused them passage through their land and was thereafter prohibited to marry Jews. During Jesse's lifetime, the judges debated if this prohibition applied to Moabite women as well as to the men.

According to the Shelah, Jesse - the foremost righteous one of his generation and a member of Great Assembly - separated from his wife towards the end of his life due to this controversy, declaring himself unfit for a Jewess. His wife, however, did not accept this decree and, similar to Tamar, secretly disguised herself as his concubine one night.

The product of this union was David, who was believed to be a bastard by his father and brothers until the truth came to light 28 years later, when Samuel was sent by G-d to anoint David, son of Jesse, as king after King Saul failed to completely exterminate Amalek as commanded.


  • 1. Psalms 89:21.
  • 2. Bereishit Rabba 29:3.
  • 3. Bereishit Rabba 50:10.
  • 4. Moed Katan 16b.
  • 5. G-d's "day" is 1000 human-years, as we learn in Psalms 90:4.
  • 6. Lot's daughters mistakenly thought that the world had been destroyed again and had returned to its unpeopled state as in the time of Adam and Eve.
  • 7. According to Jewish law, a man must marry the widow of his childless brother in order to maintain the brother's blood-line. See Deut. Chap 25.


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Torah » Kabbalah » Kabbalistic Concepts

Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
The most basic work of Jewish mysticism. Authored by Rabbi Shimeon bar Yochai in the 2nd century.
Jewish mysticism. The word Kaballah means "reception," for we cannot physically perceive the Divine, we merely study the mystical truths which were transmitted to us by G-d Himself through His righteous servants.
Grace After Meals
Biblically mandated prayer, consisting of four blessings, recited after eating more than an ounce of bread.
Anti-Semitic tribe descendant from Esau; first to attack the Jews upon leaving Egypt. We are commanded to remember their vile deed and obliterate all memory of them.
King of the Persian Empire in the 4th century BCE. Husband of Esther, heroine of the Purim story.
The Jewish Supreme Court. The court would convene in a designated chamber in the Holy Temple, and was comprised of 71 of the greatest scholars of the time. Continued after the destruction of the Temples, but was dissolved in the 5th century when due to Roman persecution the seat of Torah scholarship relocated from Israel to Babylon.
First Jew, and first of our three Patriarchs. Born into a pagan society in Mesepotamia in 1812 BCE, he discovered monethieism on his own. He was told by G-d to journey to the Land of Canaan where he and his wife Sarah would give birth to the Jewish People.
(Pl. Midrashim). Non-legal material of anecdotal or allegorical nature, designed either to clarify historical material, or to teach a moral point. The Midrashim were compiled by the sages who authored the Mishna and Talmud (200 BCE-500 CE).
Third of the three Patriarchs and father of the Twelve Tribes. Lived most his life in Canaan and died in Egypt in 1505 BCE. Also known by the name of "Israel."
Second of the three Jewish Patriarchs, son of Abraham and Sarah. Lived in Canaan (Israel); b. 1712 BCE, d. 1532 BCE.
Rogue son of Patriarch Isaac and Matriarch Rebecca. Elder twin of Patriarch Jacob.
The first man, created by G-d on the sixth day of creation. He was banished from the Garden of Eden after eating from the forbidden fruit of the forbidden knowledge. Died in 2830 BCE.
Established by King David to be the eternal capital of Israel. Both Temples were built there, and the third Temple will be situated there when the Messiah comes.
1. The fourth son of Jacob and Leah. He was blessed by Jacob to be the leader of the tribes. Consequently, the Davidic royal dynasty is from the tribe of Judah. 2. The southern part of Israel which was occupied by the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and always remained under the reign of the kings from the tribe of Judah.
1. A prophet and judge who appointed Saul as the first king of Israel in the 9th century BCE. 2. One of the 24 books of the Bible, named after the abovementioned Samuel, one of the main characters of the book.
First king of Israel, anointed by the prophet Samuel in 878 BCE. Was dethroned because he failed to carry out G-d's command, and the royal crown was transferred to King David and his descendents.
King of Israel who succeeded Saul, becoming king of Israel in 876 BCE. Originally a shepherd, he became popular after he killed the Philistine strongman, Goliath. He is the progenitor of the Davidic royal dynasty -- which will return to the throne with the arrival of King Messiah.
The Book of Psalms. One of the 24 books of the Bible. Compiled by King David; mostly comprised of poetic praise for G-d. A large part of our prayers are culled from this book.
1. A Moabite woman who accompanied Naomi, the Jewish mother of her deceased husband, back to Israel. She converted, married, and was the ancestor of King David. 2. One of the 24 books of the Bible, which chronicles the events of Naomi's life.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.